Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion, SUNY 2003Frank Visser, graduated as a psychologist of culture and religion, founded IntegralWorld in 1997. He worked as production manager for various publishing houses and as service manager for various internet companies and lives in Amsterdam. Books: Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion (SUNY, 2003), and The Corona Conspiracy: Combatting Disinformation about the Coronavirus (Kindle, 2020).


“The SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Has Never Been Isolated”

The Corona Conspiracy, Part 23

Frank Visser

It takes a massive amount of data blindness to keep believing that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus does not even exist.

In a recent video Andrew Kaufman and Tom Cowan discussed the views of Judy Mikovits as to the existence of viruses.[1] Mikovits, well known from the Plandemic video (Part 14), believes they definitely exist, and has taken Kaufman to task for this on several occasions (see Part 8). Kaufman flatly denies their existence, as we have seen in many Parts of The Corona Conspiracy (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 9). Cowan, too, denies the existence of viruses and contagion (Part 19). Both Kaufman and Cowan usually blunder themselves through scientific papers which in their understanding support their pre-conceived views that viruses don't exist, and are actually exosomes. In this video, they line up against Mikovits to strengthen their case.

Judy Mikovits
Judy Mikovits

Now, to give some perspective, Judy Mikovits is already quite deep into the rabbit hole of conspiracy thinking, but these two gentlemen go even further. Usually, when two conspiracists disagree, one of them accuses the other of being "controlled opposition". In the comments to their video, many feel that Mikovits, by taking the existence of viruses for granted (she is a virologist herself, having done actual research, contrary to nutritionists Cowan and Kaufman), has bought into the lies of mainstream science. Of course, her distance to mainstream science is vast, especially when she claimed a certain virus was responsible for the chronic fatigue syndrome.[2] Her paper published in Nature was later retracted.[3] Whatever you might think of Mikovits, at least she got a paper published in that mainstream scientific journal.

'Getting the Matter Straight'

In the video, Cowan and Kaufman lament that they have gone over this matter (i.e. the non-existence of viruses) many times, and it is now time to get the matter straight. So we will listen to their arguments closely. What do they include, what do they leave out? How well are they versed in the highly sophisticated domains of current virological and epidemiological science, which includes highly advanced disciplines such as genomics and bioinformatics?

Tom Cowan and Andrew Kaufman argue that viruses don't exist at all.

According to Cowan, who does most of the talking in this video, there's a scientfic war going on. Has SARS-CoV-2, or any virus for that matter, ever been isolated, he asks rhetorically? Taking the dictionary meaning of "isolation" as "setting some substance apart from every other substance", he claims this has actually never been done, even though—he claims—this is standard scientific practice. He is running into a clear contradiction here, for how can something be standard scientific practice when it hasn't been done? Apparently, what is and what isn't considered to be standard scientific practice has moved on over the years.

What scientists do, he continues, is culture a virus on some nurturing medium (usually so-called Vero cells, derived from monkey kidney cells). Many steps and treatments are applied here, antibiotics, toxins, serum etc. are added to the mix. This causes all kinds of cellular "breakdown products" to be produced, he claims, and when scientists sequence this sample with their sophisticated methods, how can we be sure they are targeting a virus, and not some generic human genetic material instead? But if this is the case, how can it be claimed this particular SARS-CoV-2 virus is the cause of COVID-19? Kaufman too, thinks the sequences produced by scientists of the virus are unreliable, and merely based on a dubious computer model.

Dealing with a Real Virus

hCoV-19 Data Sharing via GISAID
hCoV-19 Data Sharing via GISAID

Yet, the hundreds of thousands of sequences of SARS-CoV-2 produced by scientists since the beginning of the worldwide pandemic (the GISAID database now lists 452.000 submission of whole or partial genomes), present a rock solid case that we are dealing here with a real virus. Not only has the size of this virus been described in meticulous detail (it consists of about 30.000 "letters" A, T, C or G, which makes it one of the largest RNA viruses), its genealogy has been traced by placing it firmly within a family tree of a specific group coronaviruses (to which the earlier SARS and MERS viruses also belong). Furthermore, subsequent mutations have been traced from country to country, supporting important surveillance and contact tracing measures. When these sequences would really be based on random human genetic material, the signal/noise ratio would indeed be very low—or close to zero. Remarkably, these viral sequences are highly information-rich when compared to eachother.

In my opinion, it takes a massive amount of data blindness to keep believing that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus does not even exist.

Just for the fun of it, imagine that you are reduced to molecular dimensions and can peer through the genome of SARS-CoV-2, and spot exactly where mutations have arisen. Well, you can actually do that with a GISAID tool:

B.1.1.7 variants - Spike protein (composite image)
B.1.1.7 variants - Spike protein, row 2,3,4,5,6 are B.1.1.7 variants.[3a]

What you see in this table are virus variants with their differences in terms of amino-acids, not nucleotides, so this is somewhat zoomed out. The numbers at the top represent exact amino acid positions within the genome.

SARS-CoV-2 variants as found in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.[4]

Mutations are named according to the following convention: N501Y means that in a certain gene/protein, in this case the spike protein S, amino-acid N (for Asparagine), on amino-acid position 501, has changed to Y (for Tyrosine). Instead of hard to remember acronyms, personal names are used these days to enhance their familiarity: N501Y becomes "Nelly". Mutation Nelly has occurred in three countries.

The recently discovered "UK variant of concern" had no less than 17 mutations. All of them could be specified and pinpointed as to their precise locations:

Non-synonymous mutations and deletions inferred to occur on the branch leading to lineage B.1.1.7 lineage.[5]

Such exquisite precision! None of this is even hinted at by Cowan or Kaufman, who seem to live in a different century. Cowan simply dismisses it as "scientific fraud" (Part 19). The whole "virus isolation" issue has become, believe it or not, irrelevant these days. If I were them I would go home and be deeply ashamed of myself.

Reading Up on the Scientific Literature

To pretend he is reasonably well read in the current virological literature, Cowan picks up a paper discussing the role played by exosomes in viral infections.[6]

The paper abstract gives us the necessary context:

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are lipid bilayer-enclosed entities containing proteins and nucleic acids that mediate intercellular communication, in both physiological and pathological conditions. EVs resemble enveloped viruses in both structural and functional aspects. In full analogy with viral biogenesis, some of these vesicles are generated inside cells and, once released into the extracellular milieu, are called "exosomes". Others bud from the plasma membrane and are generally referred to as "microvesicles". In this review, we will discuss the state of the art of the current studies on the relationship between EVs and viruses and their involvement in three important viral infections caused by HIV, HCV and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) viruses. HIV and HCV are two well-known pathogens that hijack EVs content and release to create a suitable environment for viral infection. SARS viruses are a new entry in the world of EVs studies, but are equally important in this historical framework. A thorough knowledge of the involvement of the EVs in viral infections could be helpful for the development of new therapeutic strategies to counteract different pathogens.

Bear in mind that Cowan is just looking for confirmation of his belief that viruses and exosomes are basically the same thing. This is what he reads aloud, from the section "EVs and Viruses: Close Relatives?", with obvious approval—and he lays stress on the last sentence:

The remarkable resemblance between EVs [extracellular vesicles] and viruses has caused quite a few problems in the studies focused on the analysis of EVs released during viral infections. Nowadays, it is an almost impossible mission to separate EVs and viruses by means of canonical vesicle isolation methods, such as differential ultracentrifugation, because they are frequently co-pelleted due to their similar dimension. To overcome this problem, different studies have proposed the separation of EVs from virus particles by exploiting their different migration velocity in a density gradient or using the presence of specific markers that distinguish viruses from EVs. However, to date, a reliable method that can actually guarantee a complete separation does not exist.

But what no virologist, and no exosome expert in his or her right mind would ever say is that viruses are actually exosomes. As the title of the paper tells us, exosomes are sees as "allies" of viruses—they remain separate entitities, conceptually if not empirically. We have seen Kaufman trying to make that suggestion, falsely claiming the authority of James Hildreth (Part 2), and Cowan is attempting the same sleight of hand.

What this article demonstrates in a magnificent way is how viruses can exploit the exosome cell mechanism, to stay under the radar of the immune system. Both exosomes and viruses are able to leave the cell, and obviously they will use a common mechanism. Viruses have very little functionality of their own, so will use whatever the cell machinery has to offer. The authors also analyze how exosomes can be used by us to distribute antiviral medication (in the absence of vaccines, this was written in June 2020).

While the previous paper highlighted the role of exosomes in viral infections from a historical perspective, another paper, published a month later, focuses specifically on COVID-19.[7] Part of the abstract gives you an impression of the work done by professional scientists:

Upon entry, [a] COVID-19 virus may be directed into the exosomal pathway, and its component is packaged into exosomes for secretion. Exosome-based strategies for the treatment of COVID-19 virus infection may include following items: inhibition of exosome biogenesis and uptake, exosome-therapy, exosome-based drug delivery system, and exosome-based vaccine. Mesenchymal stem cells can suppress nonproductive inflammation and improve/repair lung cells including endothelial and alveolar cells, which damaged by COVID-19 virus infection. Understanding molecular mechanisms behind extracellular vesicles related COVID-19 virus infection may provide us with an avenue to identify its entry, replication, spreading, and infection to overcome its adverse effects.

Again, exosomes and viruses are separate entities, but within a cell they share common processes, which are currently intensively studied by science.

Endocytosis and exocytosis
Endocytosis and exocytosis

Cowan and Kaufman discuss that there has never been proof that viruses multiply within cells and bud from them. All available photos are just static snaphots. Perhaps, they suggest, what is observed by scientists is just exosomes leaving the cell? Kaufman tells us that every biology textbook teaches us about these normal processes of endocytosis and exocytosis (small particles entering or leaving the cell). So in his universe that is all there is: exosomes leave the cell to dispose of toxins or genetic material, and virologists mistakenly interpret this as viruses budding from an infected cell.

But "every biology textbook" also teaches us about viruses, so why so glaringly cherry pick from the literature?

A Virus Denialist Paradigm?

Virus Mania

Cowan and Kaufman see their discussion as something heroic. A real paradigm shift is needed, they claim, to arrive at "real science". Cowan mentions a question he often gets: what are all these COVID-19 patients dying from if not viruses? He gives the honest answer: perhaps we (he) doesn't know yet. More research should be directed towards the influence of toxins in the environment, healthy lifestyles and diets. But seriously, leaving a virus out of a worldwide pandemic takes a lot of creativity to come to the same patterns on spreading across the world. Are all these countries successively affected by environmental stress? To the possible causes of excess deaths in the various countries that have been affected by the pandemic, these authors often add: medication, which they consider to be toxic and lethal. So it is not a virus that killed these patients, but the medication they received from misguided doctors.

As we have seen in Part 19, discussing Cowan's "theories", a standard epidemiological textbook already takes the impact of the environment into account in an integral view of health. Infectious agents (such as viruses), the body (or the "terrain" is virus denialists like to call it) and the environment form the famous epidemiological triad, that has been known for over a century. So while it is fine to stress the importance of the environment, it is insane to deny the influence or even the very existence of viruses at the same time. For one thing, it is terribly unholistic.

Yet, virus denialists are popping up here and there, even in areas where you would not expect them.

Stefano Scoglio
Stefano Scoglio

In Part 20 we discussed the infamous Corman-Drosten Review Report, which had been written by a motley crew of "top scientists", with the aim to demand the retraction by Eurosurveillance of the first paper about the PCR test protocol for SARS-CoV-2, which was published early 2020. The initiator of this Report, Patrick Savalle, is a Dutch virus denialist. One of the co-authors (or should I say: signatories of this petition?) is Stefano Scoglio, a microbiologist and nutritionist from Italy, who claims to have been nominated in 2018 for the Nobel Prize in Medicine.[8] He is also the co-author of the new edition of Virus Mania (original authors: Torsten Engelbrecht / Claus Köhnlein), the bible of the virus denialists. Nobel worthy? More on Scoglio in Part 25.

I see that another new co-author of this Virus Mania edition is Dr. Sam Bailey (see Part 35), a New Zealand doctor and TV presenter who denies the existence of viruses, such as SARS-CoV (now often called SARS-CoV-1 or SARS-1 for short), the forerunner of SARS-CoV-2.[9] Ironically, "Bailey has also been a co-presenter for a nationwide television health show in New Zealand that debunks common health misconceptions."

Torsten Engelbrecht Claus Köhnlein
Torsten Engelbrecht Claus Köhnlein

Torston Engelbrecht, a journalist from Hamburg, wrote this Rapid Response to the British Medical Journal in reply to the article "Interpreting a covid-19 test result":

[W]hy do the authors do not mention that the virus itself, that is virus isolation, in fact would be only gold standard that deserves to be called "solid"? And if the authors think that virus isolation does not deserve this imprimatur, what scientific justification is there to call the RT-PCR a test for the COVID-19 virus?

Competing interests: I am co-author of "Virus Mania" ("Virus Wahn"), whose main thesis is that there is no solid proof that viruses (alone) are the primary cause of various diseases such as COVID-19, SARS, bird flu, swine flu, hepatitis C, etc. Instead, several causes must be considered.[10]

From the use of the world "alone" we can deduce, that even Engelbrecht stops short from being a virus denialist in the absolute sense, but that he denies that they are the single cause of a certain disease, usually attributed to viruses. But even science acknowledges that other factors—co-morbidities, air pollution, unhealthy lifestyles, etc.—play a role in the more complicated cases of COVID-19. So in my interpretation he takes a much stronger stand: viruses don't cause disease.

To use a metaphor: co-morbidities are like gunpowder, and the virus is like a spark. Patients usually die of the complications (the explosion), but without the virus this would not have happened. So they do die because of the virus.

He also wrote an article denouncing the PCR test for COVID-19 as "scientifically meaningless" in the conspiracy-friendly website.[11] He repeats all the common objections to the PCR test, but also includes communications he had with Chinese researchers in which he asked if their electronmicroscopic photos of the SARS-CoV-2 virus showed "a purified virus". They all—correctly—replied: "No." Here's one of these answers:

Perhaps virologists well versed in genomics no longer need to take that step? Just saying.

This article was fact-checked by Politfact and rated as inaccurate, but Engelbrecht wrote in reply:

When cells, cellular debris and particles are mixed in a culture, the only way of determining which RNA and proteins are viral is by separation of the particles from all the non-viral material. In a paternity suit the genome can be obtained from a single "particle" (father/child).

However, since the viral genome cannot be procured from a single particle, one must obtain it from a large mass of identical, that is, purified particles. Or at least material that does not contain extraneous RNA. This is an extremely simple concept readily understood even by the layman.

That is to say, if there is no evidence for purification (as we outline in our OffGuardian article), how is it possible to claim that the RNA obtained is a viral genome?

How can such RNA be widely used for the diagnosis of infection with a new virus? And then, how can the PCR test be "eminently suitable for viral detection"?
(italics in the original). [11]

This "layman" understanding of virology surely doesn't help get us any answers! As we have seen above, a viral genome is recognized by virologists when they see them. They are known down to the very A, T, C, G, and are studied at the gene/proteine, amino-acid, and nucleotide levels of granularity. Like Kaufman and Cowan, Engelbrecht must be living in a different century.

The implicit assumption behind this line of reasoning is: if the virus hasn't been isolated or purified, it most probably doesn't exist. Again and again, the same arguments are repeated by these virus denialists about the virus (actually, any virus) not being "isolated", disregarding the vast amounts of genomic data currently available, that leave us no doubt as to their existence.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Dr. Bailey - The Truth About Virus Isolation (

Appendix 1: "A Statement on Viral Isolation"

A Statement on Viral Isolation

Recently, Kaufman and Cowan published a "A Statement on Viral Isolation", clarifying their position.[12] It is actually a petition undersigned by 3,829 persons, as of February 17, 2021 (and around 10.000 in September 2022).

Download and share the SOVI PDF—or simply share this page link/URL with others. And please fill out the brief form below to add your voice to the Roster of Support of people from all around the world who have grown tired of their intelligence being insulted, and who now insist on the Truth based on Real Medical Science.

The Statement begins with these hilarious statements:

Isolation: The action of isolating; the fact or condition of being isolated or standing alone; separation from other things or persons; solitariness.
- Oxford English Dictionary

The controversy over whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus has ever been isolated or purified continues. However, using the above definition, common sense, the laws of logic and the dictates of science, any unbiased person must come to the conclusion that the SARS-CoV-2 virus has never been isolated or purified. As a result, no confirmation of the virus' existence can be found. The logical, common sense, and scientific consequences of this fact are:
  • the structure and composition of something not shown to exist can’t be known, including the presence, structure, and function of any hypothetical spike or other proteins;
  • the genetic sequence of something that has never been found can’t be known;
  • “variants” of something that hasn’t been shown to exist can’t be known;
  • it’s impossible to demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 causes a disease called Covid-19.

Jeremy R. Hammond demonstrated that their claims are refuted even by the very sourced they cite.[13]

Appendix 2: Jeremy R. Hammond's blog postings

In fact, independent journalist and Covid contrarian Jeremy R. Hammond has gone to great lengths to refute the claims of the various virus denialists. Here's a list:

  • Mike Stone Proves My Point about the Dogma of Virus Denialism, Dec 15, 2022
  • Cowan and Haberland Illuminate the Dogma of Virus Denialism, November 16, 2022
  • Answering Tom Cowan's 'Five Simple Questions for Virologists', October 17, 2022
  • No, I Didn't Call Tom Cowan a 'Cancer' in the Movement, Oct 7, 2022
  • Tom Cowan's Sources Contradict His Claims about SARS-CoV-2's Nonexistence, Sep 29, 2022
  • Debunking the 'Statement on Virus Isolation', Sep 5, 2022
  • Tom Cowan's Misinformation on the Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, Sep 2, 2022
  • Correcting Misinformation about SARS-CoV-2 Whole Genome Sequencing, Aug 26, 2022
  • Social Media Censors Defend 'No Virus' Misinformation, January 20, 2022
  • Interview: Counterproductive Claims from the Health Freedom Movement, Mar 9, 2021
  • No, the CDC Did Not Admit That SARS-CoV-2 Has Not Been Isolated, Dec 7, 2020

These are among the most thorough and informed refutations of virus denialism I have seen so far. Highly recommended!

Most critics of virus denialism belong to the Covid contrarians (Jeremy Hammond, Steve Kirsh, Richard Fleming, Kevin McCairn, Ulrike Kämmerer). From mainstream science nobody seems to have bothered much—except Dan Wilson and Thomas Baldwin (see Part 26)?


[1] Dr.Tom Cowan, "Response to Judy Mikovits with Tom Cowan and Andrew Kaufman",, January 29th, 2021. This is a response to: TheMythIsCanada, "Special Event Roundtable with Dr. Judy Mikovits discussing the magic virus and mRNA vaccines",, January 21, 2021.

[2] Ewen Callaway, "Virology: Fighting for a cause", Nature, 14 March 2011.

[3] Daniel Cressey, "XMRV paper withdrawn", 22 December 2011. The paper in question was: Vincent C. Lombardi et. al., "Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", Nature, 23 Oct 2009.

[3a] Gert Korthof, "Finding the highly transmissible British SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant in the USA", 7 January 2021.

[4] Andrew Rambaut, "Preliminary genomic characterisation of an emergent SARS-CoV-2 lineage in the UK defined by a novel set of spike mutations", 8 Dec 2020.

[5] Kristian Andersen, Twitter, 31 January, 2021.

[6] Flavia Giannessi, "The Role of Extracellular Vesicles as Allies of HIV, HCV and SARS Viruses", Viruses, May 2020.

[7] Mehdi Hassanpour, "The role of extracellular vesicles in COVID-19 virus infection", Infect Genet Evol., June 13, 2020.

[8] See: drbyos, "Covid-19 never isolated, says the scientist Stefano Scoglio",, September 15, 2020.

[9] Samantha Bailey, "What happened to SARS1?", YouTube, January 26, 2021. See also:

[10] Torsten Engelbrecht, Rapid Response to: "Interpreting a covid-19 test result", 30 May 2020.

[11] Torsten Engelbrecht, "COVID19 PCR Tests are Scientifically Meaningless",, Jun 27, 2020. See also his reply to a fact check from Politfact: "Open Letter: Refuting Politifact's 'fact check'",, Jul 31, 2020.

[12] Sally Fallon Morell, Dr. Thomas Cowan, Dr. Andrew Kaufman, "Statement On Virus Isolation (SOVI)",, February 2021.

[13] Jeremy R. Hammond, "Debunking the 'Statement on Virus Isolation'",, September 5, 2022.

Viruses or exosomes? — "Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (pink) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (green), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID"

Check out: 27 Covid-19 Myths &
83 Vaccine Myths from
To all those who claim SARS-CoV-2—or any virus—does not exist: the virosphere consists of 4 realms, 9 kingdoms, 16 phyla, 2 subphyla, 36 classes, 55 orders, 8 suborders, 168 families, 103 subfamilies, 1421 genera, 68 subgenera, 6590 species. Take that.

A summary of early parts of this series has appeared in the Dutch magazine Skepter 33(3), September 2020, as "Viruses don't exist" (covering Parts 1-5). German: Skeptiker (December 2020); English: (January 2021)

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